Sharing my learnings from the book, The Hero Code by Admiral William H. McRaven
The Hero Code by Admiral William H. McRaven
THE HERO CODE is Admiral McRaven’s ringing tribute to the real, everyday heroes he’s met over the years, from battlefields to hospitals to college campuses, who are doing their part to save the world.
When Bill McRaven was a young boy growing up in Texas, he dreamed of being a superhero. He longed to put on a cape and use his superpowers to save the earth from destruction. But as he grew older and traveled the world, he found real heroes everywhere he went — and none of them had superpowers. None of them wore capes or cowls. But they all possessed qualities that gave them the power to help others, to make a difference, to save the world: courage, both physical and moral; humility; a willingness to sacrifice; and a deep sense of integrity.
- many of us nurture a burning ambition to one day be extraordinary – in other words, to be heroic.
- When Lieutenant White died in October 2011, America lost a promising young soldier, and her loved ones lost even more than that. But the bravery she embodied survives, a shining example to us all. Most of us are never required to show our bravery in as heroic a manner as Lieutenant White did – but we all face challenges in our lives. Whether it’s the courage to face your inner demons, to provide a safe home for your family, or just to stand up for what you know is right, try taking the first step forward: that’s often the most daunting part.
- During the Vietcong assault, a grenade landed near the foot of a young Black Marine, Private First Class Ralph H. Johnson. Without hesitation, Johnson threw himself on the grenade, absorbing its blast and shielding his fellow Marines from its full force, sacrificing his own life in the process. This young Black Marine sacrificed his life for a noble cause: protecting the men he served alongside. That willingness to sacrifice is something we can all emulate. Maybe not in quite such a dramatic fashion, no. But when you give freely of yourself day after day, it adds up.
- In order to survive in the Pentagon, Captain Grabowsky had one golden rule: “You must never lie or misrepresent the truth.” It wasn’t just about doing the right thing – it was also a recipe for success. When you show integrity, you tell people that you’re worthy of trust – and when people know you can be trusted, you’ll find yourself rewarded with responsibility, love, and friendship.
- When James Patrick Allison was 11 years old, he lost his mother to cancer. Not long afterward, he lost two of his uncles to the same disease. Like anyone else, Allison grieved. But instead of brooding on his loss forever, he decided to do something. Allison was going to find a cure for cancer. Despite Allison’s groundbreaking research, drug companies didn’t want to hear about his research. But Allison didn’t give up. He persevered. He believed in his research, and he continued to advocate for it, despite the indifference of the pharmaceutical companies. And, eventually, someone listened: Bristol Myers Squibb, a drug company, provided the funding for human trials. Dr. Allison’s work ultimately earned him the Nobel Prize for Medicine. But had it not been for his perseverance, the world might never have heard of his medical discoveries. The thing that distinguishes heroism from ordinary talent is perseverance.
- The late Republican Senator John McCain hailed from a military family. In fact, he was the son and grandson of top-ranking Navy four-star admirals. On his twenty-third bombing run over Hanoi, McCain’s plane was shot down – and he was taken captive by the enemy. when the North Vietnamese realized he was the son of an American admiral. Immediately, they hit on an idea: if they released McCain early because of his family and connections, it would breed disillusion among regular US troops and lower their morale. So McCain faced a stark choice: He could either fulfill his duty and endure indefinite misery far from home – or take the easy way out and break his vows. In the end, McCain wasn’t going to neglect his duties. He made the hero’s choice and stayed. In life, each of us has a job to do – as a friend, as a member of a family, as a worker, as a citizen: when these duties come into conflict with our desires, it’s worth remembering that all heroism depends on making the tougher choice.
- Over the course of the Vietnam war, more than one thousand Americans were taken prisoner. As time went on, many men lost hope, and their initial faith that they’d soon return home faded with the years. But then, in November 1970, an Army Special Forces unit called the Green Berets launched a rescue operation to liberate 60 prisoners of war. They did find out about the raid, though. So while it wasn’t able to grant the prisoners their freedom, it did give them something almost as important: hope. That’s what hope does, after all. It might not change anything concrete today, but it promises a better tomorrow – and often, that’s enough.